LEARN ABOUT THE PROGRAM

KEY DATES

February 12, 2020
 Impact SKU Information Session

March 11, 2020
Impact SKU Information Session

March 17, 2020
Applications Open

April 14, 2020
Applications Close

May 28, 2020
Launch Party

June 2 – August 25, 2020
Weekly Classes – Tuesdays

August 25, 2020
Showcase Day

TEAM

Pete Speranza

Pete Speranza: A native New Yorker and a food industry veteran of 23 years and also the founder of 301INC, the venture arm of General Mills. Beyond his role as global business development lead for General Mills, he’s also is a tireless industry thought leader and advocate for major change in the world’s food ecosystem for a sustainable future. Pete’s passion for building a stronger local ecosystem to support innovation pushed him to create the food division for the largest state-wide innovation competition in the country called the MN cup at the university of Minnesota, and spearhead a vision of developing a national recognized food innovation hub for the state of Minnesota, which the organization to help this effort is called Grow North.

Connie Rutledge

Connie Rutledge: CEO of FINNOVATION Lab, has over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and business management. Her experience includes all aspects of business including concept design, market analysis, fundraising, product development, operations, and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining FINN Lab, Connie operated a small business with her husband, who is an inventor, machinist, and all around problem solver. She also coordinated the Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire for three years, attracting over 5000 makers, artists, and curious families every year. She has developed and taught courses in entrepreneurship for the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota. As a market analyst, Connie has reviewed over 500 early stage business plans and performed due diligence on many emerging markets and companies. Her passion is supporting innovators with practical advice and strategic analysis so they can recognize their vision in a socially and financially sustainable way.  She holds a BA in sociology from the University of Tulsa and an MPA from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota.

Jacquie Berglund

Jacquie Berglund is The Rambunctious Social Entrepreneur, CEO of FINNEGANS Brew Co. and founder of FINNEGANS SBC, the first beer company in the world to donate 100% of profits to fund fresh produce for those in need. Through the creation of both FINNEGANS SBC, and its nonprofit counterpart, FINNEGANS Community Fund, Berglund has championed an innovative, market-based approach to addressing and raising awareness about food security in communities across the Midwest. Berglund also founded the FINNOVATION Lab in 2017, a social business incubator and venture services company, also located in the FINNEGANS House.

Chad Hetherington

As a highly respected marketer and entrepreneur, Chad Hetherington has built his career at the intersection of retail & creative. Hailing from Australia where he founded Logic Films, in 2007 he moved to the U.S. and has since orchestrated some of the most compelling retail programs and experiences, generating over $1billion in retail sales. Chad was the former Head of Sales at Quirky where he led sales and business development, responsible for growing the retail business from zero to 50,000 stores within five years.

Nik Larsen

As a successful serial entrepreneur, marketer and business strategist, Nik Larsen’s career has been built on a collection of diverse experiences and skills. Nik builds businesses. From scratch, he has founded and lead several companies across a wide breadth of industries including hospitality, real estate development, alternative investments (i.e. hedge funds), and marketing & sales agency. Currently, he is acting President and Co-Founder of The Stable, which is a consumer brand agency that helps consumer product companies activate with their customers across all channels of commerce.